Verses 8-13 give us a general summary of some spiritual truths that are pertinent to the people on the earth after the rapture of the church.
And another angel, a second
one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is
Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the
passion of her immorality.”
There are two factors involved
with the FALL of
Since the beast essentially TAKES OVER possession of the city when he neutralizes the ENTITY of Babylonian evil, there is no dramatic effect or subsequent response from the peoples of the earth as is seen at Rev. 18:9-11. This proclamation then is best viewed as anticipatory of the physical destruction of the city.
Thus, the chronology of chapter 14 is preserved. The beast’s confiscation of “Babylon” (Rome) will occur at the midpoint of the week, and that will occur PRIOR to the events of chapter 14. However, the physical destruction of the city will occur after the midpoint of the week, and after the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky. The anticipatory announcement of Babylon’s destruction is well-placed, as that destruction will occur through the reaping of verses 14-16, “in one day” (Rev. 18:8), and “in one hour” (Rev. 18:10).
It is certain that the term, “Babylon the great,” refers to the same entity that is in view at Chapter 17:2 and 18:3 since in each of the three verses the unifying factor is, drinking the wine of the passion of her immorality. Although it is the entity of Babylonian evil that has had the greatest influence on the world throughout history, it is the CITY that is the organizational headquarters and the SYMBOL of that influence. That city will still hold its symbolic sway over the world at the time that the world-ruler (man of lawlessness) comes on the scene. For the last 2000 years that entity has been the Roman Church and the city has been Rome. It alone of all religious entities fulfills the details of the language used to describe the Babylonian harlot.
The existence of any ONE city does not promote or hinder the influence of the beast when he begins his reign. But it is the existence of a religious influence that has indeed reached to the ends of the earth and affected every nation, both socially and politically that will hinder the advance of beast worship. In order for Satan to implement the next stage (The Messiah Strategy) of his personal salvation plan, he will have to first utilize this entity of international influence and power, and then neutralize it.
When the world ruler first comes on the scene of international politics, he will NEED the influence and power of the Babylon harlot in order to begin the Covenant Experiment. Thus, according to Revelation 17, the beast will “ride on the harlot” for the first 3 ½ years of The Covenant Experiment, and then after he terminates The Experiment at its mid-term point, he will destroy the religious entity that assisted him in advancing The Experiment.
It is at that point that Satan’s Messiah Strategy will be fully implemented, and beast worship will begin.
Although it is the beast and his associates who neutralize Babylon the harlot, it is actually engineered by God, Who uses the beast and his minions (Rev. 17:16-18) to carry out this judgment.
“And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled.”
The language at verse 17:16 indicates that the beast and his allies will become intolerant of the Babylonian religious system of the harlot. Too much interference with the beast's agenda will create hatred and then action.
However, in order to neutralize the ENTITY, the organizational center will need to be “confiscated.” Thus, at the mid-point of the Covenant Experiment, the beast will confiscate the city and use it to promote Satan’s Messiah Strategy to the rest of the world. From the perspective of the last 2000 years, that city has been Rome, Italy.
In actuality, Satan’s Messiah Strategy is a perpetuation of Babylonian evil that started with the religion of Nimrod. Thus, Rome will remain the center of evil and the center of international economic prosperity, for apart from beast worship, “no one will be able to buy or sell” (Rev. 13:17).
The beast will use his control of Jerusalem to influence the Jews and Muslims, and his control of Rome to influence the rest of the world. It is the control of THIS city that thus effectively removes the influence and power that the “harlot” entity has over the “peoples and multitudes and nations and languages” (Rev. 17:15), and “over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18).
However, the actual physical destruction of the city will not occur until just prior to the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:17-21; 18). It is at the 7th bowl judgment that a great earthquake will occur that will cause world-wide destruction described as the greatest earthquake EVER (Rev. 16:18). At this time “in one hour,” “the great city (Jerusalem) was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God to give her the cup of the wine of the passion of His anger.” Rev. 16:17.
At the 7th bowl judgment, there will still be TIME for human response to God’s wrath. There will be two responses. (1) “And men blasphemed God” (Rev. 16:21). (2) “And the kings of the earth will weep and lament . . . and the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn” (Rev. 18:9-11).
The TIMING of this destruction within the chronology of chapter 14 would be after the rapture and after the commission of the 144,000 Jewish bondservants. But since the proclamation is anticipatory, the destruction will not occur BEFORE the reaping judgment of verses 14-16. And since it will occur BEFORE the battle of Armageddon, it must be placed BEFORE verses 17-20. Thus, the destruction of “Babylon the great” will occur as part of the reaping judgment of verses 14-16, which will be administered by Jesus, the Son of man.
According to chapter 18:9-19, there will be TIME for the earth-dwellers to moan and lament over the destruction of this entity, which indicates to me that this does not occur in direct connection with Armageddon.
So this proclamation is anticipatory of the destruction that will happen in connection with the 7th bowl judgment, which is described at Revelation 16:19. It will occur toward the end of the 30 day period that follows the 1260 days of the last half of the week, and appears to be one of the last items of judgment before the Armageddon campaign begins.
(1) The great city was split
into 3 parts.
THE DESTINY OF BEAST
1. Again, this is a proclamation made in heaven for John’s hearing within the context of his vision. It is not a warning proclaimed on the earth. But the fact that it is here recorded IN THE BOOK for mankind serves as a warning to them not only through the entire church age, but also during the end times. The focus here is on their final disposition in the lake of fire.
This embraces those who take the mark both BEFORE the arrival of Jesus AND
after the arrival of Jesus - so the focus is on the FACT of taking the mark
and does not break the chronology of the chapter
2. "and another (allos) angel (angellos), a third (tritos) followed them."
See Topic: Worshipping the beast
1. which has been mixed:
perfect passive participle of kerannumi. This indicates that the expression of
God’s justice HAS ALREADY been determined by His perfect righteousness and
D. In the cup of His anger: The word, orgā, is used to indicate the bona fide expression of divine displeasure when God’s truth and righteousness are violated.
the presence of: enōpion
- indicates observation and not immediate locality. 2Thes 1:9 says, “away from
the face (prosōpon)
of the Lord and from the power of His glory.”
their torment: basanismos
they do not have: echō,
present active indicative + negative to indicate once again the continuous
1. Here is the endurance of the saints:
A. Those who keep the commandments of God: The commandments, refers to all
that God has taught His people to be the right and proper behavior toward God,
self and others (1 John
It is summed up in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles as LOVE. Romans
12:9-21 and 13:8-14.
In contrast to those who take the mark of the beast and worship his image, the
FAITHFUL believer will follow truth during this time of great tribulation
(pressure and persecution). This is not a salvation issue.
See Topic: Divine Discipline.
Many of those who become believers after the rapture, and who remain faithful to God during the time remaining before Armageddon is completed, will be killed for their faith. These are seen to be recipients of a very special experience of happiness.
1. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, write: This seems to be in contrast to the angelic announcements that are made. John has heard “this” voice from heaven four previous times in His vision (V. 10:4, 8; 11:12; 14:2) and will hear it two additional times (V. 18:4; 21:3). It seems best to understand this as the voice of God the Father.
2. HAPPY: The adjective is makarios in the plural to describe the ones who are mentioned. It means happiness.
3. Those who die in the Lord from now on: This is clearly a blessing on Christians who are martyred at the hands of the beast and his minions during the time between the rapture and the defeat of the beast.
4. Yes, says the Spirit: There is a minor discrepancy in the manuscripts.
The manuscript evidence supports the presence of “yes” (nai) rather than its
exclusion. The shorter reading LEGEI could be viewed as earlier and the other
readings, simply scribal changes. But NAI, LEGEI is probably the original. It
has the stronger support and follows the style seen elsewhere in the book of
Revelation (1:7; 16:7;
Furthermore, there is no apparent reason for some scribe to add the “nai.”
Revelation 2:26; 3:21; 5:10
At Revelation 14:14-20 the
earth is reaped in judgment.
THE DAY OF THE LORD JUDGMENTS
Some think this is another angel and some think it is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. The issue of reaping is not affected one way or the other.
In support of this person being an angel, the commentary on Revelation from SOLA SCRIPTURA provides:
2. Sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man = identifies the rider of heaven’s unique transportation. One like a son of man is clearly reminiscent of Daniel 7:13. However, this is not Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus would hardly need an angelic exhortation to begin the earthly harvest (Rev 14:15). The one thing that can be dogmatically asserted is the fact that this is a unique heavenly being.
3. Having a golden crown on His head = is one indication of the uniqueness of this person. A golden crown is worn by the each of the twenty-four elders as mentioned in Revelation 4:4 and 10. Revelation 6:2 indicates that the rider on a white horse wears a golden crown. Revelation 9:7 depicts the locust cavalry wearing golden crowns. Golden crowns obviously depict authority and status.
4. A sharp sickle in His hand = is the second descriptive item enumerated by John. A sickle is an ancient instrument of the harvest. A sharp sickle suggests the beginning of the harvest with an instrument in prime condition.
“Though the one described is
said to be like the Son of man, it is probably that this is none other than
Christ Himself participating in the divine judgments of God upon a wicked
world. This probability is reinforced by the golden crown speaking of His
glorified state and His royal dignity.
I prefer to see this person as
THE Son of Man (Jesus) for several reasons.
3. This person is sitting ON a cloud. Angels are never seen in this manner.
I find it COMPELLING that we
see Jesus SITTING on the cloud rather than COMING on the cloud.
This of course agrees with the chronology that sees the 144k ALREADY saved and sealed at verses 1-5, which will occur AFTER the 6th seal arrival of Jesus and the rapture.
In answer to the argument that, “The Lord Jesus would hardly need an angelic exhortation to begin the earthly harvest (Rev 14:15),” I see no problem, and the concept of NEED, is not an issue. Such PLEAS for God to perform such and such an action are prevalent throughout the Psalms and elsewhere. Furthermore, I remind the reader that this is simply a vision of SYMBOLS shown to John. These symbols represent events that will certainly take place in the future, but the way these events are here portrayed will NOT necessarily occur in that exact manner. Jesus is not a lamb; Satan is not a dragon; there are no horses for the seals and there are no literal trumpets and bowls, etc. involved when the events actually occur in the future.
Accepting the view that this is in fact, Jesus, the crown, obviously portrays His past victory and his royalty. And the sharp sickle portrays the fact that He is prepared to express divine wrath as the Day of the Lord judgments begin with the trumpet judgments, or CONTINUE with the bowl judgments.
1. This, “another angel” refers
to the FOURTH one in this part of the vision.
“1. And another angel came out of the temple = supports the conclusion that the rider on the white cloud is an angelic being. Another angel suggests a previous angel. The immediate context suggests that the rider is the focus. This angel’s job is to deliver a message.”
The mention of “another angel”
does not at all support the conclusion suggested above. There is “another
angel” at verse 6, but the nearest previous angel is the “strong” angel at
verses 10:1, 5, 7 and 9. The SEVEN angels who have the bowls are in a separate
Further attempt to support the “angel” view from SOLA SCRIPTURA:
“2. Crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud = expresses the recipient of the angel’s message. Emerging from the temple, this angel undoubtedly is under the authority of God. The fact that an angel commands the cloud-rider to begin argues against the identity of the rider as the Lord Jesus. That the aspect of sitting on the cloud is emphasized suggests that the identity of the cloud-rider is not paramount. The Lord Jesus stated in Matthew 13:39 that "the reapers are angels" at the end of the age. This argues strongly that the identity of the rider is an angelic being.”
This is not proof at all. Jesus
and God do many things through the agency of another; angels, man, and even a
Likewise at Matthew 13:39 the
reapers at the end of the age are angels, but it is something that Jesus does
by using the angels.
THE PLEA OF THE ANGEL
It is even probable that the PLEA given at Joel 3:13 is directed to God.
Of course, the use of a sickle is symbolic. When the actual event takes place in the future, Jesus will not be wielding a sickle to reap the wicked from the earth.
THE HOUR TO REAP
“4. Because the harvest of the
earth is ripe = explains why the time of harvest
The word for RIPE is the verb, xzāraino. It is used several times in the Old
Testament, and 13 times in the New Testament in a negative sense. The only
time it is used for something good, is when an open and bleeding abscess was
cured and DRIED up (Mark 5:29).
Walvoord writes: “The expression, ‘the harvest of the earth is ripe’ (Gr., exeranthe), meaning ‘to become dry or withered,’ has a bad connotation (cf. Matt. 21:19-20; Mark 3:1, 3; 11:20; Luke 8:6; Rev. 16:12). The picture here is of a fruit or vegetable that has become so ripe that it has begun to dry up and wither. The rotten moral condition of the world is dealt with now with a sharp sickle.” Commentary, page 221.
James Moffett writes: “The classical use of reaping to symbolize death and
destruction is too common to need illustration. . . . but this ripeness of
paganism for judgment (Jer. 51:33) is re-stated dramatically (17-20) in a
parallel O.T. symbol from the wine-press.”
Some have suggested that verses 14:15-16 refers to a “reaping” of believers out from the earth via the rapture.
Alford writes: “The verdict of
Commentators is very much divided. There are circumstances in the context
which tell both ways. The parallelism with the vintage which follows, seems to
favour a harvest of the wicked;: but then on the other hand, if so, what is
the distinction between the two ingatherings? . . . On the whole then, though
I would not pronounce decidedly, I must incline to think that the harvest is
the ingathering of the saints, God’s harvest, reaped from the earth: described
here thus generally, before the vintage of wrath which follows.”
Walvoord concludes: “There is
no distinct event in this sequence of prophecies which clearly presents a
harvest of saints, and it is probably preferable to consider the first harvest
as the judgments in general which characterize the period and the second
harvest is the final climactic one.”
However, if chapter 14 begins
with the 144,000 Jewish converts, which takes place AFTER the rapture, how
then can verses 15-16 refer to the rapture when it appears that the events
outlined in the chapter are chronological?
Some believe that the chronological order is (1) sealing and then (2) rapture. They suggest that the 144,000 are saved prior to the rapture and sealed prior to the rapture, but stay behind because of their bondservant ministry that God has planned for them.
However, this view is untenable in view of several factors found in the
They likewise suggest
that the order at Revelation 14 is (1) sealing and salvation of the 144,000
bond servants. (2) then the rapture through the wheat harvest. And (3) then
the judgment of the grape harvest, and (4) then the presence of the raptured
church in heaven at Revelation 15:2-4.
The judgments begin. This could
refer to both the trumpet and bowl judgments, or just anticipatory of the bowl
because her grapes are ripe: In a normal grape harvest, the grapes would be
ripe and ready to be thrown into the wine press in order to produce wine.
There are some who suggest that this battle is different from what is described in Revelation 19. It is suggested that this "great wine press" battle occurs right after the Day of the Lord begins, and is the battle described at Joel 3:9-17. It is further suggested that this battle is one of three that are described in Ezekiel 38-39. This issue will be dealt with in a separate article, but the normal understanding that comes from comparing the pertinent passages is that the NEAR comparison provides the right interpretation and that is, that Rev. 14:19-20 and 19:15f represent the one and the same event, which is Armageddon.
2. At verse 20, we have information about this WAR that is not recorded elsewhere. A symbol of the killing of thousands and thousands of armies is shown as blood rising to the height of the horses’ bridles. Surely this is symbolic and not to be taken literally. It is quite impossible for such a RIVER of blood to truly happen. Liquid would naturally flow to the lowest point in the geography. Some have suggested that this refers to the blood SPLATTERING to that height. While the language does not DENY that possibility, I think it should still be taken as symbolic of the slaying of the armies by the simple verbal proclamation of Jesus (the sword from His mouth). It is a physical killing of these armies for there is no other reason to tell us that the flesh of these people would be eaten by the bird scavengers. This of course, would be a natural occurrence if such a massive destruction of people were to happen.
Another factor that relates to this is that the image of men and horses is
also symbolic. This image of warfare will not be the medium that is involved
at the battle. This is the image that would naturally be employed from the
perspective of the time of writing. This symbolism should likewise be the
understanding of the "horses" and "riders" that are pictured at Zechariah
12:4, and the "horses" that are pictured at Revelation 19:18.
interpretation that this language refers to a literal river or rivers of blood
mixed with water (rainfall) is an inadequate attempt to find a LITERAL
understanding. This idea is presented by Mo Dardinger in her "The Great
Winepress is not Armageddon, pages 28-29.
However, since Palestine is about 180 kilometers wide, and that translates into about 111 miles, a 50 mile radius within the general Jerusalem area is a very reasonable interpretation for the “distance of 200 miles.”
The chapter ends then with the final outpouring of God’s wrath at the end of the 1290 days of Daniel 12:11, which is 30 days after the end of the 70th week.
In between the gathering of the nations to the valley of Megiddo (bowl #6) and the actual confrontation at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21), the 7th bowl judgment of Revelation 16:17-21 will occur which brings a physical judgment on (1) (the great city,” which is Jerusalem; and (2)the cities of the nations;” and (3) “Babylon the great.”
After the summary of the final wrath of God described at the end of chapter 14, the vision presents John with the preparation for and the execution of the 7 bowl judgments in chapter 15 and 16.
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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